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j2.1 the present critical condition of affairs on the other side of the Atlantic, no one who has had any real experience of America and the Americans, and who is able to communicate the results of that ex- perience in a reasonably intelligent manner, need be under any apprehension as to the reception which he will meet with at the hands of the British public. We have, therefore, no hesitation in predicting, on a priori grounds, that Mr. Reid's book will be very generally read; and a minute examination of the work enables us to assert, with at least equal confidence, that the time and attention which may be de- voted to it will not be found to have been thrown away. Its author has spent a considerable time in the United States, has kept his eyes and his ears open daring the whole of his residence in that country, and has brought to bear a more than commonly cool, impartial, and dis- criminating judgment upon the mass of miscellaneous and interesting information which he has succeeded in collecting from very varied sources. Not only has Mr. Reid something to say, but he knows how to say it in an effective manner. The natural result of this com- bination is the production of a book which enables us to form a truer idea of the present condition and future prospects of the American nation than can be obtained from the great majority of the multitude of works which have already been devoted to the same subject.

Mr. Reid's experience of American life and character appears to have been derived, almost exclusively, from the Northern States. He came thither from Nova Scotia, landing at Portland, in Maine, and proceeding at once to Boston; and, as far as we can make out from internal evidence; the city of Washington was the most southern point to which he extended his travels. The first thing which in him on his arrival in the States was the look of the people, a subject on which he felt considerable curiosity, in consequence of the multitude and diversity of the opinions which have been expressed as to the occurrence of a change in the form and features of the Anglo-Saxon race after a settlement in America for several genera- tions. As long ago as 1788, Dr. Smith, President of Princeton Col- lege, asserted that the form and features of the inhabitants of Eu- ropean descent had even then begun to exhibit a sensible approxima- tion to the Indian type ; and similar opinions have since been ex-

pressed by many distinguished physiolog iists. This change generally attributed to the action of climatic influences, However this may be, there can be no doubt of the fact that the appearance of the American people differs in many respects from that of the English at the present day.; the men of the former nation being more lean and spare in form, with sharp features and an anxious expression, while the women are more thin, pale, and delicate-looking than those of England. This difference is far more perceptible in the Northern than in the Southern states ; the Southrons, *hough generally more spare in figure than the English, having, in other respects, deviated to a less degree from their ancestral type. Brother Jonathan is quite sensible of the reality of this change, and is rather proud of it than otherwise. An American writer, after a detailed enumeration of the personal defects of the English people, concludes that "in a word, according to our taste, John Bull won't do, and must be done over again;" and accounts for the pale and delicate appearance of his countrywomen by their not being addicted to the practice, universal among English kdies, of "imbibing London stout by the imperial measure, and retiring to their couches torpid with home-brewed ale and old Stilton." Mr. Reid points out that the Americans are the descendants, not of the average of the British, but principally of the disappointed, uneasy, and discontented classes, from which emigrants are generally drawn, and thinks that this fact, coupled with the Puritan descent of many among them, and possibly with certain climatic influences, may explain several of the most notable charac- teristics of the American features and disposition. He farther attributes the liveliness and restlessness of the Yankee character to the extent to which the Celtic element is prevalent among the settlers. His opinion of the manners of the Americans is, on the whole, decidedly favourable. His experience leads him to con- clude that too much has generally been said about such matters as their nasal twang, and their habits of inquisitiveness and indis- criminate expectoration; and too little about their frank and agree- able manners, and their friendly behaviour to strangers. No one who has been accustomed to associate with Americans, to any extent, will be inclined to dispute his assertion that one of their most striking characteristics is their extraordinary fluency of speech. An American is never at a loss for a word, whether in public speaking or in private conversation. This convenient faculty has, in the opinion of some American writers, been cultivated to a positively injurious extent; and the gift of the gab has, on one occasion at least, been actually denounced from the pulpit as one of the national sins. Another peculiarity of the American character is an innate tendency to resist the legitimate action of any constituted authority whatever ; a pro- pensity which is dignified by the title of an independent spirit, and is universally cherished as one of the most noble impulses of our im- perfect nature. In illustration of this tendency, Mr. Reid relates ' the case of Mr. John Sanborn, "the philosopher of Concord," who steadfastly refused to give evidence before a committee which had been appointed to inquire into the insurrection at Harper's Ferry, and successfully resisted all that the law could do to compel him to obedience. This philosopher laid down the general principle that it is "the duty of the States to repist the United States Government, * Sketches injNorth America; with some Account of Coagressand of the 81acery Question. By H. Reid. Longman and Co.

of the cities to resist the States, and of the villages to resist the cities." The most fatal result of the development of principles such as these is the universal prevalence of rowdyism in all the large cities of America, both in the Northern and Southern States ; an evil which Mr. Reid tells us has reached to a most frightful extent, and which he regards as a more deadly curse than even slavery itself. During his stay in North America, Mr. Reid took special interest in the proceedings of Congress, and spared no pains to acquire trustworthy information on the subject. He had scarcely any oppor- tunity of being present at a meeting of the Senate; but he gives us a detailed and very interesting account of the mode of procedure adopted in the House of Representatives. This differs in many respects from that which prevails in our House of Commons. The American legislator does not consider himself bound, while in the

House, to devote himself exclusively to his legislative duties. When a bore has possession of the House, the members employ their time in reading newspapers or writing letters. Each member has a desk in front of his seat, for his greater convenience in carrying on his correspondence. Some time ago these desks were removed, as it was found that the universal practice of letter-writing seriously interfered with the progress of public business ; but the alteration gave general dissatisfaction, and was denounced as "a contemptible imitation of the British Parliament;" and the desks were accordingly replaced. There are a number of small boys scattered about the House, ready to run errands for the members ; and when any one requires their services, he summons them, after the Eastern fashion, by a light clap of the hands. The members, while speaking, walk up and down the passages which divide the seats, and sometimes cross over from one side to the other ; a practice which sometimes leads to violent altercations, as in the case of Messrs. Lovejoy and Pryor, which will doubtless be fresh in the recollection of many of our readers. Cheering is strictly forbidden by a rule of the House; but the prohibition is entirely disregarded by the occupants of the galleries, who express their sentiments with the utmost freedom, and generally with perfect impunity. Clearing the gallery is occasionally hinted at, but the threat is very rarely, if ever, carried into execution. The mode of reporting the debates is especially delightful. The reporters take down as much of what is actually said as the noise and disorder which always prevail will allow them to hear; and in the morning the members stroll down to the newspaper office and polish up their orations, with scarcely any scruple as to the extent to which they carry their alterations. The results are sometimes very curious. When a member goes to revise what he has said in putting, or reply- in. to, a question, he often finds that another member has been there Seady,. and has struck out from his speech the part which called forth his remarks. Nor do members always confine themselves to correcting their own speeches; sometimes they strike out anything unpleasant they may see in an adversary's. The debates themselves, though animated, eloquent, and argumentative, are less instructive than those in the British House of Commons ; a deficiency which, in Mr. Reid's opinion, is mainly owing to the regulation which excludes ministers from a seat in the .House of Representatives. The language which American legislators are in the habit of using, is occasionally rather strong. Mr. Iverson, member for Georgia, while addressing the Senate, 'described General Houston, the Governor of Texas, as "a clog in the way, in the lone star of Texas ;" and thought it pro- bable that "if he will not yield to the public sentiment, some Texan Brutus may arise to rid his country of this hoary-headed traitor." (Great sensation.) In the Lower House, Mr. Martin, of Virginia, assured Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois, that, "if he would come into Virginia, they would hang him higher than they did John Brown;" and Air. Lovejoy replied that he had no doubt at all about it. The following scene deserves to be presented in the words of the official report :

" During the speech some one sent Mr. Smith a tumbler of egg nogg, which he drank, saying, 'Merry Christmas to all of you.' (Great laughter.)

"Mr. KILGORE inquired whether it was in order for the gentleman to mono- polize the drinking of egg nogg, while the rest were doing without it?

"Mr. &writ said that was one of the constitutional privileges of his side of the House. (Laughter.) "A VOICE.—I'd like to have some; I'm dry as thunder. (Loud ha, ha's ' all over the House.) "After further remarks Mr. Smith received another tumbler of egg nogg, which he drank, bowing to the ladies in the galleries, creating much mer- riment "Mr. BORNE:M.—I rise to a question of privilege. I desire to know whether this is a private treat or not? (Laughter.) "Mr. MOOltli, of Ky. (earnestly).—I move to adjourn to take some kind of treat. (Increased laughter.) "The CLERIL—I do not feel authorized to decide, but will submit the question to the House. (Renewed laughter.)"

There are two among the standing orders of Congress the mere mention of which is the most effective comment on the foregoing facts. The first declares that "Members must confine themselves to the question under debate, and avoid personality ;" and the second enacts that "no spirituous liquor shall be offered for sale, or ex- hibited within the Capitol, or on the public grounds adjacent thereto." The most intrinsically valuable part of Mr. Reid's volume is that in which he gives a brief historical sketch of the rise and progress of the slavery question. This very clear and intelligible account sup- plies, within the compass of a few pages, what has been universally felt to be a desideratum by all English readers, ever since the com- mencement of the crisis which is now pending in the Uuited States. No one who has read Mr. Reid's book will have any further difficulty in understanding the frequent allusions to the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and the Dred Scott Decision, which have hitherto been such constant and painful reminders of his ignorance of American political history. Mr. Reid speaks in the strongest pos-

sible terms of the inveterate hatred with which the South now re- gards the North, and thinks that its bitterness and intensity are owing, in great measure, to the injudicious and aggressive policy which the Abolitionists have habitually pursued. While he sympa. thizes heartily with the great object which the Northern States desire to attain, he disapproves entirely of nearly all the means by which they have hitherto attempted to gain their end The fanatical hatred of, and contempt for, the negro, which universally prevails in the Northern States, undoubtedly lessens to a very serious extent the efficiency of their efforts to procure his emancipation. We heartily commend the whole of this section of Mr. Reid's volume to the reader's most attentive consideration. With respect to secession, he appears to regard it as an inevitable necessity, in the existing state of things. The policy of such a course is, he acknowledges, question- able, and its legality more than doubtful; but he regards this case as one which calls, not for the rigid enforcement of the law, but rather for an equitable adjustment, solely upon its intrinsic merits. Above all, he deprecates any appeal to force. Such a course would not only be the most unwise that could possibly be adopted, but it is one which the political antecedents and previous conduct of the Northern party give them no sort of right to pursue. If the Southern States are determined to secede from the Union, no amount of coercion will prevent them from carrying their resolution into effect.